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We’ll get there again – I promise.
As the days go by, I understand how people feel, and why they have decided to nearly give up it’s human nature. And I myself have found myself on the precipous of giving in and bending the rules. But why? We have come so far.
I have dreams nearly ever night of what I want to do, who I want to see, and where I want to go. I dream of cool sunsets in a land far away, much like this photo I share with you here tonight. But for now, we have to wait, we have to be patient, and we have to believe that eventually it will all be over. Because it will be.
Eventually this will all be a weird memory, one that we will try to forget for the rest of our lives.
We’ll get there.
I have been blessed to have gone all over the country – including the warmest place in the world – Death Valley.
However, even when I walked off the airplane in Phoenix to a wall of 119 degrees, it still isn’t half has hot as it was this day in South Carolina. The 98 degree heat coupled with the near total humidity made the entire thing nearly unbearable. Suddenly making me so happy that I am living in a world of air conditioning.
Regardless, I was taken aback by the beauty of this city, and hope to one day wander its streets again.
A cold night fell on a quiet city in a quiet county, in a quiet state. No one ever really thinks about Ohio, and no one ever really thinks about the tiny towns, cities, and metroplexes that make it. Almost like it never exists except to those who wander its roads and meander through the leaf-covered pavement that form its skeleton. A city everyone knows of, but never really gives much attention to.
For me – that was my hometown. Little town Ohio, snuggled under the hip of a larger, though also forgotten city – Cleveland.
It’s a tough town, a cold town, but a homey town. Like one of those places you see on yearly hallmark movies that you are convinced can’t be real – and for the most part they aren’t. But there is a little truth in those movies, especially when it comes to the small-town feel that can bring a seemingly random group of people together. None of us knowing how any of us got there, landing in this tiny spec of land on a massive ball of mud. Just knowing that we are here now, side by side, for better or worse.
I have spent my entire life here, in this town, or city if you’re bold enough to call it that. Thirty years of family, friends, career, and life all within the walls of Cleveland. Something that I never really stopped to think about, because it never really mattered. Not until I thought about just how long thirty years was, and the fact that my entire self is found here – except for those few years in Akron – which was a blast, by the way.
Turning thirty never meant much to me, it was just a number. The only time I thought about it being when I made my career goal to land a full-time gig in my tough-to-manage field by this age. A feat which I achieved at the fresh age of 26. A feat I am still proud of to this day – but that’s another story for another time.
I would see older friends and family turn the page on their twenties, some feeling upset about it, others having indifference you could only admire from a distance. And to me, it always felt like something so far off in the distance that it didn’t really matter. I was so concentrated on my creative career, my work, and things that made me happy. It never really worried me what would happen when I turned that magical age – the 2 turning to 3, more responsibility seemingly coming out of nowhere and the body beginning to fall apart. It never bothered me, and it still doesn’t. That being said, it doesn’t mean I don’t look back and think about the past, and how much of it I miss.
“If only there was a way to know you were in the ‘good old day’s’ while you were in them.” A cliche of cliches – a quote from The Office. But it’s one I think of often. I wish I knew when I was in “The Good Old Days.” However, then I realize that the good old days, if you let them, are all the days. Again, a cliche, but what’s the point in fighting them when they are true? The good old days never end if you don’t let them – an ever-present force of nature that never fades away, and always follows.
I look around my tiny town to this day and have memories flood in all the time. Remembering when my friend drank too much milk at that gas station, that street I paraded down while I was in the marching band, that park on the corner where I got stung by my first be and played baseball until the sun went down. Making me sad when I look back and think about how easy things were. But then I remember there are other places in that town as well. Memories from the next “good old days.”
The grocery store where I started my work experience as a kid, the library where I filled out endless college applications, and then later spent hours writing my graduate thesis in. Those too were good old days, just different. They didn’t hold any less meaning, they didn’t mean anything less to me – they were just… different.
And now, I still am in the good old days, and eventually I will look back at this very moment, thinking about writing these exact words by candlelight in the late evening/early morning of an unusually warm November evening. I will look back and miss this time, my family likely being larger than just us three. I will miss how “easy” I had it, how “care-free” this part of my life was. But that’s just an excuse to feel bad. There will always be something to be happy about.
Eventually my daughter will grow, talk, then walk off to college – followed by her likely siblings (the amount still to be discussed). Eventually my knees will be worn down even more than they are now – likely hurting from the years of abuse playing softball and riding bikes. Eventually my expertise will expand, my naivety falling off slowly, day by day. I will be sad, but I will force myself to remember that good things will still be on their way.
More than anything – I miss being so clueless as to how life really is. My head not holding any knowledge of how the world worked, even until recently. I’ll miss not caring – having to live with the burden of knowledge and experience. I’ll miss not having as many memories of this city, knowing there are more to be made. But I’ll never regret the days I had – because I know there are so many more to come.
Life will always be easier when you look back, because you know how the story ends. It’s scary when there are still pages left to turn. However that’s also the exciting part – that’s also the part that flies by faster than you’d ever imagine. It always seems like the mountain is taller than it really is – you’re always suddenly on the peak.
Struggles will always fade away, they never last even in memory. But the good times we have are as strong as steel – and shape hearts and minds for the rest of eternity.
In reality, I am still young, and argue I will always be just that. And that will forever make me happy.
This fall has been phenomenal for photographers… mostly. There are some things that you can just never avoid. Such as, well, construction.
I spend nearly two hours in Youngstown on this photoshoot, and landed only a handful of quality shots.
With the raging sun, literally no clouds, and the equipment – the environment was difficult to handle. However you’d never know it looking at this.
Until this year I never really realized how colorful fall can be. Maybe this year is different. Maybe.
I remember this day fondly.
This was taken on the Ohio Towpath near Independence. A trail I have been on dozens of times. Sometimes by bike, sometimes by foot. Each time a little different.
This was the first time I took my family, my little unit – and it was a fantastic time.
Taking photos is a ton of fun, but it’s even better with family along for the ride.
One thing I never really did – which is odd since it is so simple to do on Photoshop – is a double exposure.
For one reason or another, it just never really popped into my head to do. I am always focused on a single image, and what it holds. And until recently, I tried to use as little color correction as possible.
I am glad I did this though, even though it was asked of me to do by someone, and wasn’t an original plan.
I will likely do more of these in the future, but likely not with portraits of anyone. I still am not, and likely won’t ever be, good at those.
Just a few months ago I shared this photo on here, and I was sure proud of it.
Lately, however, I have been on a kick of re-touching photos and meticulously revamping their color scheme.
I didn’t realize how color is lost from the original shot – and now I’m going to fix that!
We used to call it the “food museum.”
It was a tall, oak cabinet that felt like it stood just as tall as the tree it was cut from. Towering over the kitchen with grandeur, even though it’s use was rare at best. Standing alone in the corner, waiting to be called upon.
My grandparents were a unique bunch, at least they were to me. However in retrospect, they probably weren’t much different than anyone of similar age. They probably were all the same, just as I am with most people shutting the door on their twenties. They were probably just the same as their friends, their colleagues, any everyone else they knew. But to me, they were different – and I truly didn’t understand.
Until I did.
No matter the time of year, no matter the time of day, the cabinet was always full – the food museum.
There were bags of flower and spices, mustard, cans of food, utensils, and anything else you could think of. It had a smell of brown sugar that I can still feel in my nose to this day. So much so that any time I bake, I am taken back to that cabinet in a quiet home in rural Ohio. It made me laugh and smile whenever I went through it, though that wasn’t a common task.
I was never sure of why it was there, or why my grandparents kept random items for so long – it just didn’t make sense to me. Why would anyone keep a box of rice for so long? What was the point? Afterall, most of the dates printed on the old cardboard were almost older than me, sometimes they actually were. But I just accepted it, I let it be what it was, and I never really questioned it. Just a quirk of the family, and something we all just let happen. Like a quiet addition to the family.
It wasn’t until years later, when my mom was talking to me about her parents, that I finally understood why it was there – and why it was more important that I’d ever realized. More important than just an old oak cabinet protecting years-old grain.
When you’re a kid, anyone who is older than you seems ancient – cruel, but true. They seem like they have been around forever, seventy years seeming like an eternity to a child – and in reality, it is. But a child doesn’t really realize what those years mean, what was going on during them, and how it affected the very people we think have been around forever. From recession, depression, good times and bad. Our grandparents saw more than we could realize, and part of that memory was sitting right in that kitchen, in that cabinet.
My grandparents grew up in the depression. They had no money, they barely got by, and in such – they barely had any food. Not like today where supermarkets are always packed, restaurants are plenty, and food can be driven right up to your door. Food wasn’t a luxury, it was something you truly treasured. And for my grandparents, that feeling and attitude never went away. They never felt like they could let go of their stash, worrying of the next time the bottom will fall out.
I didn’t realize it until years later, but that cabinet was more than a stash of food – it was a memory. A memory of times when food was scarce, money as well. When they weren’t sure how they were going to make it through the week – it was a lifeline, not a cabinet.
Sure, the years went on, the country improved, the world progressed and life became easier. My grandparents didn’t have to worry about their next meal. They didn’t have to worry about how they were going to get enough money to purchase a loaf of bread to split for the week – they had finally escaped poverty’s clutches. However, the legacy remained – embedding itself deep inside the psyche of my grandparents like a carpenter ant burrowing into a deck. The constant buzz of worry forever present.
What surprised me more as I look back is the fact that, never once, did my grandparents explain to me why it was there, what purpose it had, or why there was food in there so old that the company had already redesigned their logo twice. Maybe they didn’t want me to know. Maybe they were happy that time had passed, that I didn’t have to worry about it anymore, and they were protecting me from something they never wanted to experience, while also not being able to shake it themselves.
But, ironically, today I find myself doing the same thing – I find myself storing my own supplies for a rainy day…or year. Something I never saw myself doing, and I am not alone.
There is an old saying that “history repeats itself,” and it is no more real and present than today. I remember the days earlier this year of waiting in long lines at stores for a pound of beef – wondering if I was going to see barren shelves and angry people, or maybe just nothing at all.
Suddenly, and out of nowhere, I saw my own oak cabinet being built – the anxiety of yesterday returning, and the outcome becoming the same.
I don’t want the world to be one of worry, hoarding, and thinking about our next move constantly. I don’t want to have to explain to my own grandchildren about why I have decades old spices in a closet that reeks of anxiety. I want a world devoid of cabinets and all that they carry.
That oak cabinet is gone, but the memory remains. Hopefully it never has to make a return.